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India set to break 18-year old FIFA world ranking record after win over Myanmar

Six wins on the trot for the Indians as Chhetri strikes his 53rd goal of his career.

India vs Myanmar
The heroes from Yangon

What’s the news?

India are set to jump into uncharted territory in terms of FIFA World rankings after their narrow 1-0 win over Myanmar in their third round opener of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers. Stephen Constantine’s men have been on a roll of late and have won 11 of their last 13 games (and are currently on a six-game winning streak).

A strike right at the death sealed the deal for India as the Blue Tigers recorded their second away win in as many games. Sunil Chhetri’s precise finish in the 90th minute helped Stephen Constantine’s men take home all three points from a game in which they looked second favourites for most of the 90 minutes.

According to our calculations at Sportskeeda, the Blue Tigers are set to jump around 20-25 places on the table.

In case you didn’t know...

Indian football, in terms of rankings, has been on the decline. Once ranked 106 at the beginning of the year 1999, the downward spiral had seen the Blue Tigers stumble to as low as 171 a few years back. However, a string of good results in the last year and a half have seen the fortunes of the team reflected on the ranking’s table as well.

This was also Sunil Chhetri’s 53rd goal in the Indian national team colours. This helps him equal Wayne Rooney’s record although the Englishman has played more game but against tougher opposition. Only a handful active players remain in the world who have more international goals than Chhetri.

The heart of the matter

The latest result against Myanmar is another one to add to India’s ever growing list of victories. This was their first win over the hosts on their home soil in 64 years. And this comes hot on the heels of a memorable 3-2 win against Cambodia in an international friendly, their first away win in 12 years.

The hosts, who are placed 40 places below India, never looked like a team hovering around the 170s of the FIFA World Rankings. Playing a flamboyant brand of football, they dominated the game. However, a lack of incisiveness meant that Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the Indian goal was never really tested.

The win means that India, who are on 233 ranking points are expected to jet to 331 after these two consecutive victories. The points at this point of time would be good enough for the 106th spot, currently occupied by Mauritania. 

The final spot would, of course, be inclusive of the results from other teams around India. However, with the pattern that has been there in the last few years and judging by the results of other teams around the 331 mark, it would be a safe bet to say that India will be ranked in 100-110 range.

In the last 13 releases, teams around the 331 mark have occupied rankings ranging from 102 to 114.

If this is so, this will be India’s highest rank in over two decades.

What’s next?

India were last in the Top 100 in 1993, and these results would be significant steps towards getting into the top 100 club again. The FIFA rankings next come out of the 6th of April, a date that will be earmarked by all football enthusiasts in India.

The Blue Tigers next play Lebanon on July 7 in an international friendly before taking on Kyrgyzstan in their second game of the AFC Asian Qualifiers.

Author’s take

Whilst Stephen Constantine should be happy with the results, the last two games have shown that there is a lot of scope for improvement from the squad. Whilst they were totally outplayed in the first half in their game against Cambodia, they played second fiddle for much of the game in Yangon.

However, India’s incisiveness around the goal has been rewarded time and again.

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